Waters ~ Part Five
Hey y’all, it’s Maya and Emma! This is part five of our Halloween Fic collab! We hope you love it!
TW: Angst, Psychosis, Blood, Death
Kaz slams the door shut behind him. He breathes in and out, his chest heaves and narrows rapidly. His panicked breaths sound like those of an animal, chased and cornered in a trap with no way out. No way out. Kaz feels his hands shake, his guts twist with fear and his legs feel like they will give out any moment. He feels cold, he sweats. What the hell is happening?
You killed them, Kaz. They’re all going to die. Because of you.
“They’re alive”, he hisses to the voices in his head, to the echoes of a child he knows well, a child who died, and a child who came to life.
Everyone you love dies. It’s just a matter of time.
Kaz sobs and hides his face in his hands. “No!” he gasps, shakes his head. “No, no they’re alive.” But the voice keeps taunting him, no matter what Kaz says, no matter how many times he yells at it or begs it to stop.
They’re dead. It’s in front of him, the voice. Kaz shakes his head.
They’ll die. As always, merciless. “No, no, no”, Kaz mumbles.
You’ll fail. You’ll fail them all. You can’t protect them. The voice echoes behind him, and Kaz stumbles forward, spins around, gasps.
Jordie will catch the plague. It’ll come back. Kaz shudders, shakes his head, whimpers a no, snaps his head to the side to catch the origin of the voice. A shadow flies past him.
You’ll drop Ava. The shadow moves to the other side, Kaz spins around, almost loses his balance. His voice breaks. “No, I would never-”
Inej will wear silks again. Kaz sobs. “No- no she- I paid-” He feels a push in the back and falls to his knees, hard. He bows forward, his hands hit the floor, Kaz can’t breathe. What is real? What’s not? He remembers paying off her indenture, he does. But what if it’s only in his head? What if this is just a sick dream? What if-
They won’t forgive you. Kaz bows his head. He shivers.
“There is no forgiveness that you can earn”, that same voice says. Except that now, it comes from a small boy standing right in front of him.
He’s small, no older than nine, dark brown hair, and bright blue eyes, darkened by the hate in his voice, “Who are you?” But he knows, and the boy laughs.
“The only version of you that matters” The voice is no longer in his head, no, these words come from the mouth of the child in front of him. The one who has just propped himself up onto the counter.
“We are not the same.” He is Kaz Ghafa, he is not the product of Reapers Barge, he has built himself into the man he is today.
“The blood on your hands disagrees.” To Kaz’s horror, his hands are once again covered in crimson. It stains his sleeves and runs down his arms. No no no.
“Rietveld was weak, he died easily, Brekker was too easily swayed by love, he’s gone too. But me? You can never truly bury me. I am you when this facade falls away, at the end of the day, you and I are the same. And you will never be able to wash away that blood.” The boys peaks with the swiftness Kaz used to, years ago, when his words were aimed to kill, and they did.
The despair in Kaz’s heart grows, this isn’t true, it can’t be. I am a good man. The boy shakes his head.
“If you were, your family would still be alive. He would still be alive.” He gestures to the tub, now full, a murky liquid sloshes over the sides. A grey, bloated hand reaches up, gripping the side of the tub as it pulls itself from the water.
Kaz wants to disappear, he wants to run, he wants to close his eyes and open them and be in Inej’s warm comforting arms. His body electrifies with horror and every fiber in his being screams at him to get away.
The face that haunts him still appears, grey and pale and bloated and horrid. Jordie. The boy, disfigured from being in the water, heaves himself up, steps out of the bathtub and Kaz can’t breathe. In Jordie’s swollen thick fingers there’s a cup, looking exactly like the one that stood on the dining table last night. Ghezen, Kaz thinks.
“He can’t hear you”, says the boy on the counter. He fiddles on his shirt sleeve and meets Kaz’s confused gaze. “Oh”, he giggles. “You still don’t know if he’s real?” Dirtyhands pulls a hand through his hair, frowns slightly, as if to remember something. “He was, he actually was real”, he then says. “Then I killed him.”
Kaz stares at the boy on the counter, at his cold eyes and polished shoes. “What?”
“Look at him, Ghafa”, Dirtyhands says, changing the subject. “You say you’re a good man, then..” The boy laughs, runs his hand over his mouth, rubs his chin. “What kind of good man doesn’t close the eyes of a dead child?”
Kaz turns his face away, stares at his hands, still covered in slippery crimson. Dirtyhands jumps down from the and squats down in front of Kaz. He lifts his hand and Kaz can’t help but stare. It’s white. There’s not a single spot of skin not covered by scar tissue, thick and uneven, ugly. His nails look more like claws than actual nails.
A shiver runs up Kaz’s spine as Dirtyhands moves the hand to Kaz’s chin. A gasp passes Kaz’s lips as the boy twists his jaw, forcing him to face Jordie’s horrible figure. His skin burns like brimstone under the boy’s fingers, as if it was withering and dying just from his mere touch.
“Look”, the boy hisses, and Kaz sobs. Jordie seems to flicker, like a light in the wind. One second he’s dead and bloated and soaked, the next he’s standing there, his cheeks a warm pale pink and his body slim and graceful as it used to be. “This is what you did to him.”
Kaz sobs and Dirtyhands lets go. He takes a step back, throws a couple of gloves at Kaz. “Put them on.”
“No.” He straightens his posture. Dirtyhands shakes his head and slaps Kaz hard across the face, his claws dig into his cheek, leaving hot streaks of red behind. Kaz’s face burns.
“Put them on.” The boy- the creature-, hisses at him. Now Kaz obeys, slowly he pulls on soaking wet, black leather, gloves. The once familiar, comforting feeling, now tainted, sends shivers down his spine. He wants to run, to scream. He feels the leather itch on his skin, almost as if it grew into his hands, became a permanent part of him. Kaz lets out a desperate sigh and tries to get them off, but they simply won’t let go of him.
“The hunter is now the hunted”, the boy says. “How does it feel to be trapped?” He lifts his gaze and stares into Kaz’s eyes, shakes his head slowly. “So many years”, he huffs, a wicked grin spreads over the boy’s face. “So many years I’ve been pushed away, hidden, in the back of your mind.” He almost spits the words out as he walks up to Kaz.
“Do you have any idea how it feels?” Dirtyhands squints his eyes, tilts his head to the side, the corner of his mouth twitches. Kaz can’t do anything but stare. He can’t move, can’t think.
Then the boy flicks his sleeve, and an oyster shucking knife appears in his little monstrous hand. Kaz tenses, he knows that tidy, wicked blade. A shudder shakes his body as the boy rips his shirt open, but Kaz can’t find it in him to move, he’s frozen.
The boy smiles and makes a neat slash right over Kaz’s heart, and before Kaz can draw a breath to cry out, he makes a second cut in the opposite direction, nearly a perfect X. Kaz whimpers and grits his teeth. Blood trickles down his chest, stains his white shirt.
Then Dirtyhands flips the knife around and sticks it into Kaz’s chest, let’s the blade sink deep in between his ribs. Kaz gasps and states wide eyed at the boy, tears fill his eyes. This is it.
Pain courses through every fibre in his body, and Kaz doesn’t know what to do, where to go to even try to cope with the pain as the thing in front of him twists and bends the knife, cracks his ribs. Kaz doesn’t scream, yet he does. Dirtyhands dives his hand deep into the cut and grabs the broken rib, bends it out so that his hand can slip into his rib cage.
Kaz thinks he’ll pass out. He’s never experienced any pain like this in his whole life. The boy huffs and pulls back out with a sickening wet sound. Kaz closes his eyes, and when he opens them, he can’t believe them.
In the boy’s hand lies his heart, beating with rattled unnatural beats. Kaz drowns in horror. What- The boy stares at the heart, squeezes it between his horrid fingers. Something smells like it burns. And then the heart transforms into a black dried out lump in the boy’s hand. Kaz can’t even blink before the heart has turned into ash and disappeared, disintegrated into nothing.
The cavity in his chest bleeds, and the area surrounding it turns a sickly, purple and black, “Very good.” Dirtyhands says, pulling Kaz up to stand, he is much shorter than Kaz, but the fear is no less. His mind swims, he is not in the bathroom, now he’s in Reaper’s Barge, bodies piled on top of him, suffocating him. Another slap across the face slams him back to reality, the cold tile on his feet, the unbearable pain throughout his body, the creature before him.
Panic thumps in his chest where his heart would have been, it fills him entirely, leaving no room for strength or rage. Once again it brings him to his knees and the child before him laughs, “Pathetic. It’s time.” He nods to Jordie, still caught between life and death.
“My- My family..” Kaz tries to beg, he tries to plead, he has a son, a daughter, a beautiful wife, but slowly their memory fades. The knowledge of them is gone and he is numb, he is not Kaz Ghafa, not anymore. He is a shell, now Dirtyhands is smiling. Kaz hardly notices at first, as Dirtyhands snaps and the mirror shatters, as Jordie claps his hands together, shattering the cup of chocolate on the bathroom floor. But soon the water from the tub is crashing down on him, black and thick. The smell of death, the smell of rot surrounds him and Jordie drags him below the surface. Water threatens to fill his lungs, and he breathes in, accepting it.